What Can You Compost?


Quick Answer

Any organic material can be composted. However, some, such as meat fats and diseased yard waste, are not considered safe for home composting. Some common safer composting materials include grass clippings and leaves, coffee grounds, banana peels and newspaper.

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Full Answer

In order to make compost rich, it’s best to use as wide a variety of materials as possible. In addition, composting helps reduce the amount of trash that goes to recycling centers and landfills. For instance, instead of recycling newspaper, cardboard and printer paper, shred it and add it to your compost pile or bin. Clean yard waste, such as hedge trimmings, prunings and old fruit, reduces your footprint at the landfill while adding nutrients to the compost. Reduce your kitchen vegetable waste by recycling old lettuce and other greens, avocado and potato peels. Old wood, wood chips and sawdust make good compost, as does animal manure from herbivores, such as cattle, horses, rabbits and hamsters.

It's also possible to compost manure from carnivorous animals; however, it must be heated to a very high temperature to sterilize and be safe to handle. Be cautious when composting invasive or diseased plants, as they can grow again in your garden or transit disease to new plants if even small bits survive composting. While it is possible to compost dairy products, these can attract scavengers that may invade and attack the compost pile. Other organic materials requiring special handling and equipment to compost safely include meat and bones.

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